Taiwan, an island nation located to the southeast of China, is a land of captivating contrasts. Its vibrant cities buzz with old temples, world-class museums, and bustling night markets offering diverse culinary delights. Beyond the urban bustle, Taiwan unveils stunning natural wonders, from the serene Sun Moon Lake to the spectacular Kinmen Island.
Taiwan, a stalwart defender of democracy and human rights, maintains its independence amid longstanding tensions with China. The warm and welcoming Taiwanese people proudly uphold their sovereignty. With an abundance of attractions, visitors will find it challenging to fit all the wonders of Taiwan into a single trip. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the top 10 places to visit in Taiwan.
1. Taipei: The Island’s Vibrant Heart
Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, offers a fascinating blend of the old and the new. Serving as the political, economic, and cultural hub, the city boasts a lively arts and culture scene. Amidst modern skyscrapers, ancient temples stand as a testament to its rich heritage. The iconic Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building, graces the skyline. Explore the Taipei Zoo, Botanical Garden, and the mesmerizing Hsing Tian Kong temple. Delight in the local culture at the Raohe Street Night Market and immerse yourself in history at the National Palace Museum.
2. Sun Moon Lake: Tranquil Oasis
Sun Moon Lake, the largest body of water in Taiwan, beckons visitors with its serene beauty. Lakeside resorts and restaurants cater to every need, making it a popular destination. Enjoy sailing, hiking, or biking in the surrounding hills, or take a boat trip on the tranquil waters to admire the breathtaking scenery. Don’t miss the beautiful temples and the cable car ride offering unforgettable views.
3. Taroko National Park: Nature’s Grandeur
Named after the magnificent Taroko Gorge that runs through it, Taroko National Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty. Carved by the Liwu River over millennia, the gorge is a highlight, but the park also features steep valleys, mountains, and more. Engage in various outdoor activities, from river rafting to hiking, and bathe in the Baiyang Waterfalls. Delight in stunning views from the Eternal Spring Shrine and the Swallow Grotto. Experience local culture and traditions at the Taroko Music Festival.
4. Tainan: A Glimpse into Imperial Taiwan
Tainan, the former capital of imperial Taiwan, offers a journey through history. Explore the historic heart of the city in the Anping District, home to beautiful old temples and the Dutch-built Fort Zeelandia from the 17th century. Museums like Chimei and Koxinga offer insight into Taiwan’s rich heritage. Don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine at the night markets and venture into the surrounding nature.
5. Lukang: A Treasure Trove of Culture and Cuisine
Lukang, the second oldest town in Taiwan, is a captivating destination known for its delectable local cuisine and stunning architecture. Located in the northwest, it once thrived as an important seaport and trading center, leaving behind over two hundred temples and a wealth of historic buildings. Explore a wide range of architectural styles and savor local specialties like ox tongue cakes and oyster pancakes.
6. Alishan National Scenic Area: Majestic Mountains and Tranquil Beauty
Alishan National Scenic Area is a realm of mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and forests. With numerous trails and the Alishan Forest Railway, which passes through picturesque landscapes, visitors can explore this wild and enchanting place. The Tsou people, known for their tea-making expertise, call Alishan home, making it a wonderful place to savor tea and experience their culture.
7. Kenting National Park: Tropical Paradise
Kenting National Park, often considered Taiwan’s oldest, lies in the south on the Hengchun Peninsula. Its tropical climate and beautiful beaches draw visitors year-round. Explore lush landscapes teeming with fauna and flora, and visit the iconic Eluanbi Lighthouse. The park hosts the famous Spring Scream festival, a magnet for music enthusiasts.
8. Kinmen Islands: A Historical Gem
Located between Taiwan and China, Kinmen Islands are renowned for their bright flowers, forests, and nature reserves. Historic buildings stand as a testament to its past, and pristine beaches add to its charm. Kinmen National Park offers breathtaking scenery, making it a must-visit. Indulge in local products and cuisine for a true Kinmen experience.
9. Wulai: A Soothing Escape
Wulai, in the south of New Taipei City, is a haven for hot springs enthusiasts. Visitors can immerse themselves in warm waters, learn about indigenous culture, and explore the lush natural surroundings. Activities range from hiking in the forests to fishing in the river. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor indigenous arts, crafts, and local delicacies.
10. Kaohsiung: A Diverse Melting Pot
Kaohsiung, a vibrant city and the maritime and industrial hub of Taiwan, beckons with its rich cultural diversity. Enjoy outdoor activities in its beautiful surroundings, including hiking and cycling to scenic viewpoints. Kaohsiung’s historic sites and expanding museum scene offer a glimpse into its past and present.
Taiwan, a land of diverse experiences and natural beauty, invites you to explore its multifaceted attractions. Whether you’re drawn to vibrant cities or tranquil landscapes, Taiwan offers a wealth of adventures for travelers to discover.